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Beaver students will work at home, study abroad for spring break

2/21/2011 —

Next month’s spring break will find some Penn State Beaver students scattered across the globe. Students will travel with their professors to Spain and Italy as others implement outreach and support services through Young People Who Care, Inc. of Frenchville, Pa. and the Caritas healthcare system.

Robin Bower, associate professor of Spanish at Beaver, and students from her Iberian Civilization and Culture class, will travel to Madrid, Spain, where they will visit the Prado Museum, home of major collections of the work of Spanish master artists El Greco, Diego de Velazquez, and Francisco Goya. The students will also view “The Garden of Earthly Delights,’ one of Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch’s most famous and recognizable paintings.

The group will visit other major museums, including the Reina Sofia Museum which houses some of the greatest art by Spanish natives Salvadore Dali as well as Pablo Picasso, whose iconic painting of the Spanish Civil War, ‘Guernica,’ is on display. Students will also study the work of Juan Gris and Joan Miro and will visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum which contains one of the world’s largest, most extensive private art collections.

In addition, students will take day trips to study history and culture in Toledo, Segovia, and Avila, and some students will travel to Granada with Deborah Gill, associate professor of Spanish at Penn State DuBois, to visit the Alhambra, a 14th century palace and fortress.

Kay Wijekumar, associate professor of information sciences and technology at Beaver, will travel to Italy with students from her Senior Synthesis Class. The class will present its iPhone and Droid Application Development and Prototype at the International Conference on Computer Applications in Venice. In addition, the group will go to Rome to tour the Vatican and its information systems and will see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Gary M. Slifkey, director of Catholic campus ministry, will engage students with members of Young People who Care (YPWC), a Catholic grassroots ministry, as well as staff and patients of the Caritas healthcare system. Slifkey and his students will travel to the Pennsylvania Appalachian Mountains to work on a variety of medical and life skills projects for those in need, including providing transportation services for people with medical conditions, working in an emergency shelter and a clothing bank, visiting the elderly, and assisting with cleaning and home repairs, including painting and moving furniture.

YPWC provides a wide, ecumenical circle of care for members who are committed to creating a holistic and nonjudgmental environment where the exchange of culture, education and training empower individuals and groups.

For more information, contact Bower at rmb29@psu.edu or 724-773-3886, Wijekumar at kxw190@psu.edu or 724-773-3814, or Slifkey at gslifkey@diopitt.org or 412-334-7804.

Author of ‘Cool Creatures, Hot Planet’ will speak at Penn State Beaver

Marty Essen, the award-winning author of ‘Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents’ will present his high-energy, funny, multi-media show, ‘Around the World in 50 Minutes,’ at noon, Wednesday, March 23, in the auditorium of the Penn State Beaver Student Union Building. The public is invited to attend.

Essen’s program follows a 3 ½ year trip he and his wife undertook to explore nature, animals, and science on the seven continents. His presentation highlights his various encounters with nature, including charging elephants, deadly snakes, and friendly penguins as well as rafting with humpback whales, kayaking in the rainforest, swimming with piranhas, and surviving a hippo attack. In addition, the program will feature photos he took while traveling the world.

‘Cool Creatures, Hot Planet’ has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2009 Green Book Festival Award for Animals, the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Travel/Essay, and the Best Books 2006 Book Award for Travel/Essay. Also, it was chosen at one of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Top 10 Green Books.

Essen has spoken at colleges, nature centers, and museums across the country and was recently named the Hot Speaker for 2011 by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

For information, visit http://www.coolcreatureshotplanet.com/, or contact Robin Schreck, coordinator of student activities and residence life at Beaver, at ras62@psu.edu or 724-773-3947.

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